The overall housing market is on the upswing and keeping up with national or regional market data has merit. But those seeking information about their local market conditions need to narrow their focus and understand the numbers specific to that area. Luckily for us here in northern Virginia, the numbers continue to show a stronger real estate market than most of the country.
I’ve compiled a "Top Ten List" of market stats provided by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors and Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, our local Multiple Listing Service. These figures are from August, 2012, the latest month from which stats are available, and cover the Northern Virginia area.
- There has been a 6.71% increase in median sales price since Aug. 2011.
- There has been a 7.89% increase in home sales (1,818 in Aug. 2012 versus 1,685 in Aug 2011)
- THere has been a 9.46% increase in number of homes sold year-to-date (12,965 Jan-Aug 2012 versus 11,845 Jan-Aug 2011)
- There has been a 21.43% decrease in average number of “days-on-market” (44 days in Aug 2012 vs 56 days in Aug 2011)
- There is a limited supply of homes for sale. “Active” listings are down 33% since last August.
- It’s now more expensive to rent than own. Monthly average rents increased 5.72% to $2,252 per month in Fairfax County.
- Mortgage interest rates remain at historic lows. A 30-year fixed-rate loan can be obtained with an interest rate of less than 3.5%.
- Foreclosures and short sales have steadily declined since the first quarter of 2011.
- Unemployment in Northern Virginia is 4.2% - nearly half the national average of 8.1%
- 9,000 jobs from 159 different companies are expected to be created in the next year, according to the Fairfax Economic Development Authority.
These are just averages. Conditions differ from area to area…even a few blocks can make a difference! Contact a real estate professional if you want specific, down-to-the-street information about housing. They will show what’s really happening and provide what you need to make educated decisions.
(Author Ron Kowalksi is a managing partner with Ron & Susan Associates with Re/Max Gateway in Lorton.)